Sunday, 24 April 2022

Recipe Round-Up: Celebrate Vegan

Who else is obsessed with Heartstopper, both the books and the new Netflix show?? It is so cute and pure and good! If you have loved it, please let me know so we can scream at each other about it! In the mean time, let's look at some more recipes from Celebrate Vegan. You can see my previous posts about it here.

Baked Agave Tofu and Potato Kugel: Despite the name, this tofu isn't as sweet as you think it will be, it just has a subtle sweetness. As well as agave, it also has citrus, soy, ginger, and cinnamon. I scored my tofu lightly so it could absorb maximum marinade, and marinated it overnight. It does have quite a long bake time, and I did have to increase the heat to get all the marinade absorbed. The kugel recipe makes a lot, I just scaled it down to a quarter recipe. It was comforting, of course, with all that shredded potato and onion and a hefty whack of nutritional yeast, but I would add a touch more salt next time.
Rating: Tofu :), Kugel :)

Baked Agave Tofu and Potato Kugel

Lucky Soba Noodles with Dipping Sauce: I love a cold noodle salad with a beautiful sauce, but this one was pretty meh. The sauce is made using broth (vegetable, mushroom, or miso) and soy sauce, I used a mushroom extract, but it needed a lot more flavour. I would definitely add some miso to the mix. Otherwise it is just cold noodle salads, with the sauce tipped over them, and topped with whatever you want. I went with spinach, cucumber, pickled carrot and daikon, tofu, and seaweed gomasio. The sauce is really important in this, but as written just let it down.
Rating: :|

Lucky Soba Noodles with Dipping Sauce

Blender Hollandaise Sauce: This is meant to be put into crepes with asparagus, but I couldn't be bothered making crepes. Instead I served the sauce over a sauteed portobello, roasted asparagus and sweet potato, and baby spinach. The sauce is made with silken tofu as the base, and is nice and creamy and rich and tangy.
Rating: :)

Blender Hollandaise Sauce

Sesame Seed Cookies: These cookies have a lot of sesame seeds in them! I used a mix of 3/4 white and 1/4 black sesame seeds, so they are pretty to look at. These cookies are crispy, crunchy, sweet and lovely! As the book says, perfect with a cup of tea. A half recipe of these made 12.
Rating: :)

Sesame Seed Cookies

Banana Spelt Bread: I got some extra bananas in our order specifically so I could let them get extremely ripe for this recipe. As well as the base recipe, there are a number of add ins you can choose. I added some chocolate chips and dried cranberries, which made for a lovely not-too-sweet afternoon treat. A lot of the baking in this book uses a small amount of soy flour, and I have some soy flour languishing in my pantry. So I am planning on holding onto this book for a while to use up some of that in further baking recipes.
Rating: :)

Banana-Spelt Bread

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


Just a little throw back to my beautiful Sahara, snuggling into a doona.

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Midweek Munchies (Fine Cultures edition)

Being a vegan with a coconut fat intolerance, most of the abundance of artisan vegan cheeses are not an option for me. Vegan cheeses love being full of coconut oil, and I don't want to pay artisan vegan cheese prices to find out that I can't eat it without making me sick. Fine Cultures is a local vegan cheese company that is run by the same person who started the Vtopia cheese shop in Portland before they moved to the Gold Coast!! Of course, most of their cheeses are full of coconut oil, but there are a few that aren't.

The Smokey Cheddar and the Aged Black Garlic Cheddar are two of those cheeses!

Fine Cultures

The smokey cheddar is fairly soft, and has a slightly smokey taste... I could have done with more smoked. I used it to make a lot of toasted sandwiches. So enjoy a bunch of boring photos coming your way right now, starting with this one that had smokey cheddar, ham, and tomato jam.

FC Smokey Cheddary, ham, tomato jam toasty

And this one, that had smokey cheddar, ham, and cranberry sauce.

FC Smokey Cheddar, ham, cranberry sauce toastie

Finally this one, with smokey cheddar, apple slices, and tomato jam.

FC Black Garlic Cheddar, tomato jam, apple toastie

It was the aged black garlic cheddar that was the star for me. Again, it is fairly soft, but the flavour... oh the flavour. I don't know how to describe it. It doesn't hit you with a lot of garlic. What it does is serenade you with a deep, savoury, umami flavour that will just have you wanting more more more! Here is a very dull photo of the time I made some Ryvitas with it. Half with cheese, tomato jam, and apple slices, and the other half with cheese, avocado, and tomato. To be honest, I ate the rest of it in chunks on apple slices. I have another block of this in my fridge right now.

FC Black Garlic Cheddar on ryvitas

The other product I was keen to try was one of their vegan cream cheese, surprisingly coconut oil free. In particular, the bacon and spring onion cream cheese.

Fine Cultures Bacon and Spring Onion Cream Cheese

Despite my excitement, or perhaps because of it, this didn't quite live up to my hopes. It was fine, but I was really expecting to be blown away. I ate it a lot of ways, but here it is on some toast with avocado, tomato, cucumber, and dill.

Fine Cultures Bacon and Spring Onion Cream Cheese

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Me and Dim Sim, we should have been forever.

Monday, 18 April 2022

Eating Out: Vegan High Tea and Botanical Lab

I realised I hadn't posted about this remarkable meal I had towards the end of last year, and it is definitely something that needs to be shared! I had been to Botanical Lab a few times before, and when I saw they were having a Vegan High Tea I knew I definitely had to go. It isn't something they do all the time, it was something they only did for a few weekends. You had to prebook, so my friend and I jumped on it as soon as we saw it announced.

Behold their beautiful menu! We got all of this.

Vegan High Tea at Botanical Lab

And it was presented so beautifully.

Vegan High Tea at Botanical Lab

Vegan High Tea at Botanical Lab

The forgot to bring out the jam and cream for the scones initially, they came after we had eaten the scones! But the cream was really nice, plus had boba balls in it.

Vegan High Tea at Botanical Lab

The mochi ice cream and truffle also came out on their own.

Vegan High Tea at Botanical Lab

Of course, high tea requires tea! And also drinks! We each got to choose a cold drink for ourselves, plus a pot of tea for the table. I picked the Apple and Strawberry Teanade, not realising that it was going to be fizzy, so I sipped very slowly. And my friend had the Biscoff Milk Tea with Pearls.

Vegan High Tea at Botanical Lab

For our tea, we chose a white rose tea.

Vegan High Tea at Botanical Lab

It was a lovely experience, and I would love to do it again. Sadly, the centre where Botanical Lab is located was severely damaged by the severe weather we had in February, and apparently they are not expected to be able to reopen until June. I really hope they are able to come back, and I will definitely support them if they do!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Baby Dim Sim

All this talk about kittens. Did you know that Dim Sim was the last cat I had since a kitten? Gizmo, Sahara, Abby, and Boo were all adopted as adults. I sadly don't have a lot of photos of Dim Sim when she was a kitten, it was a time before digital cameras and phone cameras, and film processing was expensive when I was a student. But here is a photo of her at about a year old. She started out as the tiniest kitten, and turned into the tiniest cat.

Saturday, 16 April 2022

Recipe Round-Up: Celebrate Vegan

Time for another trip through the things I have made from Celebrate Vegan. You can see the other posts about this book here.

Golden Millet Pilaf with Noochy Broccoli: This was two random recipes slapped together, also served with some falafel bites and some tahini sauce. I made the millet pilaf in the rice cooker, because I love how easy that makes things, and I made a half recipe. The pilaf has olives, spinach, garlic, green onions, and a bunch of herbs and spices. The colour comes from turmeric. I paired it up with some Noochy Broccoli, which is a broccoli and nutritional yest puree. I added extra nooch, used garlic powder instead of fresh garlic, and left out the red pepper flakes.
Rating: Pilaf :), Broccoli :)

Golden Millet Pilaf; Noochy Broccoli

Prismatic Wild Rice Salad: I made a half recipe of this over summer, which I needed something colourful and cool. It has cranberries, celery (which I used instead of raw red onion), peas (which I used instead of edamame, they hurt my guts), corn, carrot, coriander, and I also added some tinned kidney beans. Rather than using straight up wild rice, I used a microwave pack of wild, red, and brown rice, which gave extra fun colour. Served over baby spinach.
Rating: :)

Prismatic Wild Rice Salad

Ramen Noodle Bowl: This recipe is so easy! Every thing is simmered together in the one pot. It has onion, cabbage, carrot, mushrooms and broccoli in it. I used some Soyco Japanese Tofu instead of edamame, and I also added some corn. The vegetables do get a little mushy in this, but it is in a really comforting sort of way. Definitely recommend for a cold night when you need something quick and easy. I loved this.
Rating: :D

Ramen Noodle Bowl

Farfalle with Shallots and Chard: This is a lovely dish, with sauteed shallots adding some nice sweetness. I did not use farfalle for this, I used trevelle (only 200g, not 450g), and I also added some butter beans for protein. The recipe says nutritional yeast for sprinkling, I mixed about 1/4 cup through the finished dish.
Rating: :)

Farfalle with Shallots and Chard

Sag Paneer: This was a little bland, and not in that good way, just in a meh way. It uses dry-fried tofy for the paneer, and the spinach sauce has plenty of spices in it, but it just didn't quite hit the spot I wanted. It calls for 'vegan half-and-half' for the sauce, which who if that exists, so I used soy cream.
Rating: :|

Sag Paneer

Island Style Tofu: This recipe is meant to be made with tempeh, but I live with tempeh haters, so I used tofu intead. The tofu is marinated in a pineapple/citrus/herbs/other blended marinade, which is then reduced after the marinating to make the sauce for the fried tofu. I did leave out the harissa in the sauce, and replaced it with some tomato paste, and I made a half recipe of the sauce and used a 300g block of tofu.
Rating: :)

Island-Style Tofu

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Baby kitten

Tiny kittens may be smol, but they screm loud!

Monday, 11 April 2022

Eating In: Baked Things

As more and more places offer vegan options, I have been slowly trying some of them out! Mostly in the before the borders opened and COVID became everywhere times.

Muffin Break has started offering some vegan muffin options, as well as a vegan pie. But they don't always have them, it took me about three or four times before I was successful. I tried the vegan mixed berry muffin, which was fine. Nothing outstanding, but good. I also got the vegan pie, which again, was fine.

Vegan Mixed Berry Muffin from Muffin Break

Vegan Pie from Muffin Break

In early December I actually went into the city for an appointment, in that brief glorious time before the borders opened. We are back to telehealth now. But on this visit in, I went to the Wednesday markets and picked up this vegan banana chocolate chip cookie. I don't remember the name of the stall, but there are a bunch of places there with vegan options.

Choc Chip Banana Cookie from markets in city

Zafarra's is a coffee shop chain, and that have a Blueberry and Banana vegan muffin. Absolutely horrific, do not try. It just tasted like baking soda. Blergh.

Zaraffa's Blueberry and Banana Vegan Muffin

Finally, doughnuts are not really a baked good, but they are still on theme. I saw this cute place called Happy Dough at Garden City, and they seemed to have some vegan doughnuts! I got a jam and a lemon curd filled doughnut, and they gave me two cinnamon sugar doughnuts for free! Not all of their doughnuts are vegan, but several are. They are also gluten free, so they did suffer from being a bit heavy and gummy, but the flavours were good.

Happy Dough at Garden City

Cinnamon, Lemon Curd, and Jam doughnuts from Happy Dough at Garden City

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Baby Elle

Another teeny kitten. This is Elle, when she was a baby! She is now a grown up kitten who is going to be ready for adoption soon! But she was so itty and bitty!

Thursday, 7 April 2022

Midweek Munchies

I've been back at work this week, just doing some short four hour shifts before things go back to normal next week. I am feeling mostly OK, just get tired easily and can lift even less than usual at work. But definitely progressing back towards my version of normal! But enough about that, let's look at some food.

Ever since Tofurky left our shores, V-Bites is one of the few vegan deli slices brands that is still available here (through The Green Edge). They are not as good. I have already spoken about the ham and chicken slices, but I tried the pepperoni slices recently. They were pretty good. Had a strong peppery bite! I used some of them to make some English muffin pizzas, with pizza sauce, pepperoni, FYH mozzarella, and capers. I also made some pizza toasties with them, adding in some pizza sauce and sliced Sheese.


Pizza sauce, pepperoni, FYH mozzarella, capers on english muffins

Pizza sauce, pepperoni, and cheese toastie

Speaking of English muffin pizzas, I also made this one using creamed corn as the base, with FYH mozzarella and then some bacon bits once it was out of the oven. This was a very specific craving, and it hit the spot.

Creamed Corn, FYH mozzarella, bacon bits on English Muffin

I'm forever looking for good snacks, forever disappointed by chip flavours. This vegan Honey Soy was just... not really anything. It was very slightly salty, with maybe a wisp of sweetness. Chips should have lots and lots of flavour in them!

Honey Soy Vege Rice Crackers

Finally, just a fun fresh salad I made for lunch one hot day. It had baby cos, celery, cucumber, tofu, and the last of the carrot and daikon mandarin yuzu pickle. I used a bit of the leftover pickle juice to toss through the salad, and topped it with some tonkatsu sauce, vegan Kewpie, and some sesame seaweed seasoning salt. I also had a lovely ice tea that I had picked up from an Asian grocery store along with it.

Salad with Carrot and Daikon Pickles and fun drink

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


Could I interest you in a pile of teensie tiny very smol fresh kittens?? A friend at work fosters bottle babies, and she brings them in sometimes!

Sunday, 3 April 2022

Recipe Round-Up: Celebrate Vegan

Wow wow wow! I feel up to writing a recipe round-up post! I had a follow up with my surgeon a couple of days ago, who gave memtwo thumbs up, and I go back to work tomorrow. The last week I have finally started feeling more like myself, and able to move around comfortably, I just still get tired easily because I spent the last five weeks not doing much of anything. But I am on track to being back to normal. But the better new normal, with no more uterus to ruin my life. Hurrah!

This next batch of round-ups will be coming from Celebrate Vegan, by Dynise Balcavage. You can see the one previous post I have from this book here. I love menus, and this book is full of menus for different sorts of celebrations. But as life goes on, I have had less energy to pull off big menus. I know this will sound ridiculous, but my brain was in such a set pattern of: if it is in a menu you have to make the whole menu, that it took me a while to let go of that and decide I could just make individual recipes that appealed to me. I know I know, but honestly. Brains. Don't try living in mine, it is exhausting.

A little note on the book itself, it is not a book I would really recommend. It is has a load of menus for specific days around the world (new years celebrations, American celebrations, International celebrations, religious-based celebrations), as well as milestone celebrations and everyday celebrations (a sick day menu will forever seem like a strange choice to me, if I'm sick I don't want to be making three courses). But there is little thought or consideration given to the meaning behind some of these celebrations (particularly from other countries or religions), and it also includes a Columbus Day menu with a very flippant entry. I am not American but I know that Columbus day is NOT a day to celebrate. So, don't go out of your way to get this book. With that ringing endorsement, let's get into the first batch of recipes. Wow. I have written a lot before even getting to the food!

Esther's Baked Falafel and Smoky Tahini Sauce: I often find store-bought falafels to be dry, so I like to make me own. I know they should be made with dried chickpeas as the starting point, but I have no issues with a recipe calling for tinned chickpeas. So much easier. This is a very simple recipe, and I like that they were baked. It still called for quite a bit of oil in the baking process, but I cut way down on that. The flavour was nice. It was a fairly small recipe, I got nine little falafels, but served with rice, green beans, and the sauce it was a good dinner. As for the sauce, it made a bunch! It was quite lemony, so I would cut down on the lemon juice and up the smoked paprika next time.
Rating: Falafel :), Sauce :)

Esther's Baked Falafel; Smoky Tahini Sauce

Tofu with Broccoli and Black Bean Sauce: I'm a sucker for a broccoli and tofu stir-fry! The sauce was easy to make, and uses those little packets of fermented black beans that you get at the Asian grocery store. I used the lower amount of soy sauce required to make it, and it had just the right level of salt for me. This made three serves with white rice and spinach.
Rating: :)

Tofu with Broccoli and Black Bean Sauce

Good Old-Fashioned Macaroni Salad: This made three big servings of macaroni salad, especially when served with some sausages and cucumber as a great summer-time dinner. I left out the raw onion and capsicum, and added extra celery and carrot. I also added some peas because I will add peas to almost anything, and I used white pepper in place of cayenne. The recipe says to leave overnight if possible, or at least a few hours, I made mine the morning of. It was quite sweet, so cut down on the sweetener!
Rating: :)

Good Old-Fashioned Macaroni Salad

Japanese-Style Mashed Potatoes #1: One of the recipes in the book is for mashed potatoes, and it has a huge range of variations that you can flavour them with. This one included the regular suspects of some vegan butter and milk, but also miso, scallions (I sauteed mine lightly first due to my issues with raw onions), and sesame oil. I also used white pepper in this, and didn't add extra salt because the miso and Nuttelex made it salty enough. I served it with some roasted broccoli, a schnitzel (in lieu of katsu), and vegan kewpie and tonkatsu sauce.
Rating: :)

Japanese Mashed Potatoes #1

Polish-Style Mashed Potatoes: This version added some horseradish as well as chives. I added an extra big dollop of horseradish, as I love the flavour! I served this with kraut, spinach, and a schnitzel topped with some dill and mustard sauce out of a bottle from Ikea.
Rating: :)

Polish Mash

Seitan Kebabs with Smoky Yoghurt Dipping Sauce: First up, I rarely have the energy these days to put things on skewers, so rather than grilling skewers I left out the skewer process entirely and just sauteed the whole thing. I used Meet strips for my seitan, which you can get from Coles. They are marinated for several hours before cooking. The sauce was a bit on the sweet side, though I had left out the cayenne. It could also have been smokier. I just love the flavour of smoked paprika so much! Served with roasted potatoes and baby spinach.
Rating: :)

Seitan with Smoky Yoghurt Dipping Sauce

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


Abby comes downstairs several times a day now! She's still wary of things, but also spends a lot of time happily relaxing in the sun room. This is a little sofa we have in the sun room that she sits on occasionally, and she looks very pretty on it!